Mixed data have also been reported for lung cancer. Several cohort studies found no association between plastic workers’ exposure to styrene and lung cancer.5,7,8 A case-control study of 7970 workers, however, found a significant increase in lung cancer–related mortality among those with high exposure to styrene for at least 1 year (standardized mortality rate [SMR], 1.44; 95% CI, 1.10-1.86).9

There has been no consistent evidence of occupational plastic exposure and lymphohematopoietic cancers. An analysis of the Danish cohort found that cumulative exposure to styrene resulted in an increased risk for acute myeloid leukemia (rate ratio [RR], 2.4; 95% CI, 1.2-4.6) compared with low exposure.10 Other studies found no consistent association between exposure to styrene and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and myeloid leukemia.4,5,7,9

There are also mixed data for cancers of the digestive tract. For esophageal cancer, there was no association in the Danish cohort, but another cohort study of 37,021 reinforced plastics workers found that esophageal cancer–related mortality was significantly increased with a cumulative exposure to airborne styrene that lagged 20 years (RR, 1.16; 95% CI, 1.03-1.31).5,8 The same cohort study also found a significant association between airborne styrene exposure and pancreatic cancer (RR, 1.89; 95% CI, 1.17-3.09 per 100 ppm).8 For colorectal cancer, a meta-analysis did not find an association among workers from plastic and rubber manufacturing industries (RR, 1.30; 95% CI, 0.98-1.71).11

Related Articles

To date, no association with plastic exposure has been identified for bladder, kidney, or testicular germ cell tumors.4,12

Conclusion

There are few data to provide solid information about general exposure to plastic and cancer risk, particularly in the setting of everyday, nonoccupational contact. Although some studies suggest that workers from the plastic industry who are exposed to certain components, such as styrene, may be at increased risk of some cancers, the data are not conclusive.

References

  1. Fucic A, Galea KS, Duca RC, et al. Potential health risk of endocrine disruptors in construction sector and plastics industry: a new paradigm in occupational health. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018;15(16):1229-1240.
  2. Shen Y, Xu Q, Xu J, Ren ML, Cai YL. Environmental exposure and risk of uterine leiomyoma: an epidemiologic survey. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2013;17(23):3249-3256.
  3. Garcia-Pérez J, Lope V, Pérez-Gómez B, et al. Risk of breast cancer and residential proximity to industrial installations: new findings from a multicase-control study (MCC-Spain). Environ Pollut. 2018;237:559-568.
  4. Boffetta P, Adami HO, Cole P, Trichopoulos D, Mandel JS. Epidemiologic studies of styrene and cancer: a review of the literature. J Occup Environ Med. 2009;51(11):1275-1287.
  5. Christensen MS, Hansen J, Ramlau-Hansen CH, Toft G, Kostad H. Cancer incidence in workers exposed to styrene in the Danish-reinforced plastics industry, 1968–2012. Epidemiology. 2017;28(2):300-310.
  6. Nissen MS, Stokholm ZA, Christensen MS, et al. Sinonasal adenocarcinoma following styrene exposure in the reinforced plastics industry. Occup Environ Med. 2018;75(6):412-414.
  7. Bertke SJ, Yiin JH, Daniels RD. Cancer mortality update with an exposure response analysis among styrene-exposed workers in the reinforced plastics boatbuilding industry. Am J Ind Med. 2018;61(7):566-571.
  8. Loomis D, Guha N, Kogevinas M, et al. Cancer mortality in an international cohort of reinforced plastics workers exposed to styrene: a reanalysis. Occup Environ Med. 2018;0:1-6. doi:10.1136/oemed-2018-105131
  9. Coggon D, Ntani G, Harris EC, Palmer KT. Risk of cancer in workers exposed to styrene at eight British companies making glass-reinforced plastics. Occup Environ Med. 2015;72(3):165-170.
  10. Christensen MS, Vestergaard JM, d’Amore F, et al. Styrene exposure and risk of lymphohematopoietic malignancies in 73,036 reinforced plastics workers. Epidemiology. 2018;29(3):342-351.
  11. Oddone E, Modonesi C, Gatta G. Occupational exposures and colorectal cancers: A quantitative overview of epidemiological evidence. World J Gastroenterol. 2014;20(3):12431-12444.
  12. Béranger R, Le Cornet C, Schüz J, Fervers B. Occupational and environmental exposures associated with testicular germ cell tumours: systematic review of prenatal and life-long exposures. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(10):e77130.